‘We will get an extroverted president’

Though she will formally step away in July, Genshaft said she will be around to help her successor if needed. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

The search is on to find the next system president, following Judy Genshaft’s announcement that she will retire in July. Tasked with leading the committee that will find her replacement, Les Muma, who also sits on USF’s Board of Trustees (BOT), said he is working hard to ensure a seamless transition.

One aspect of the transition that Muma hopes to see involves the new system president working alongside Genshaft before she formally steps away.

“I would like to have 30-60 days of overlap,” Muma said. “Also, (Genshaft) has made the point to me that she is not going anywhere. She will work with the new president as much as he or she wants or as little as he or she wants.                                                                                               

“That’s a plus.”

Currently, Muma said he is rating the prospects in a three-part scale. Muma said that once he and BOT Chairman Brian Lamb have reviewed each resume and ranked them, they will go after their “A” prospects first.

Muma clarified that those interested in the position are being referred to as “prospects” because once they are identified as “candidates” they will have to go public about their application for the position, according to Florida’s Sunshine law. He said during Monday’s BOT meeting that the search committee has received 30-40 resumes from those interested in the position.

Among the list of defined qualifications the committee put together for the next system president, includes experience and a background in academics. According to Muma, most of the prospects so far have filled that qualification.

“There is a wide variety of prospects,” Muma said. “The vast majority of them are people with academic experience. There are some outliers who do not have academic experience who we are taking a serious look at. We are taking a look at all of them right now.”

Aside from the list of qualifications, Muma said the seventh person to fill the role of president will need to share the same passion as his or her predecessor.

“In my opinion, we can’t have a major change in personality that we have had for 19 years without somebody pretty significant,” Muma said. “We will not get an introverted president, we will get an extroverted president.”

Muma said all of the prospects who make it to the candidate group are expected to be announced sometime in mid-to-late March. Once the final candidates become known to the public, Muma said each of them will visit campus and have the opportunity to engage with students, faculty and staff directly.

As far as Genshaft’s involvement in the search, Muma said that she has decided to put her full trust in the search committee thus far.

“She (Genshaft) would rather let us do it on our own,” Muma said. “There will probably be a time somewhere down the road where I will have a conversation with her, but for right now she has a lot of confidence that we will hire somebody as good or better than she is.

“That is probably impossible.”

Muma said his message to students would be that he and the search committee are working hard to ensure that their experience is not hindered in any way.

“The chairman of the search committee and the search committee are doing their level best so students will not be impacted at all in a negative way,” Muma said. “They (students) all want another Judy. That may be impossible to get, but we are going to get somebody as close to another Judy as we can.”


Additional reporting by Sam Newlon